Young Change Makers Project
Due to ongoing systematic inequalities, young people from racialised communities have seen their mental wellbeing hit disproportionately hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mental health practitioners trying to support young people from racialised communities (communities experiencing racial inequality) often lack the required ‘cultural competence’ to understand a lived experience of racism. This can magnify existing traumas, such as job losses and educational disadvantages, which have already been heightened by the pandemic.
Thanks to funding of £650,000 raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, UK Youth is collaborating with the Centre for Mental Health and The Diana Award to reimagine mental health support for these young people through a new ‘Young Changemakers’ programme. The programme has been made possible through funding from the Postcode Recovery Fund, which was created to help communities recover from problems exacerbated by the pandemic.
It will see the recruitment of a group of 16–25-year-olds in England with a passion for or lived experience of mental health and racial injustice. The recruited ‘Young Changemakers’ will be given the opportunity to change mental health support for the better and affect real change. They will get involved with policy influencing, engaging and upskilling frontline practitioners, changing public attitudes, and peer-to-peer support.
Young Changemakers will be led by a group of eight ‘Co-Producers’ who will help steer the training and recruitment of other young people, sharing their ideas and insight in all aspects of the programme. Iola shared why she got involved as a ‘Co-Producer’:
“I want to ensure that Black voices are amplified on the topic of our own mental health. This programme is important as it provides young Black people with a chance to discuss and plan actions for improving our own mental health in changing the way services are delivered. With all the cuts to youth services our voices have been lost and disregarded but this programme will provide the space for changemakers to express their concerns and solutions to identify the problems.”
Recruitment for the Young Changemakers programme starts on 7th September, with inductions in October. Young people part of the programme will be supported every step of the way, helping them deliver projects that impact mental health promotion, protection and provision.
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